ADVENTURES | PHOTOGRAPHS | LIFE IN AMSTERDAM


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Summer in Amsterdam: Eats + Sweets

It's a breezy, cool summer morning here in Amsterdam. Not that I'll ever ask for an overcast day but having spent last night watching the sunset glow over the Amstel River and subsequently and polished off a bottle, or two, of wine together with good company, I'm happy to make use of this quiet, calm morning to write. I do write daily for work but evenings have been filled with summer pastimes, away from the computer, clearly keeping me from sitting down with a big cup of iced tea and blogging.

It's been a while since a food post has popped up around here, ironically, since my handy Dutchman built us a beautiful new kitchen this spring. Home cooking is happening often but when it comes to recipe posts (or apparently, blogging of any kind)... well, I'm simply more interested in letting summer sunshine lure me out of the house. 

July has kept a very busy, buzzing pace, complete with lots of sunny days (hooray!) that quickly fill up with boat rides, picnics, afternoons in the park, evenings along the river, bike rides, beach days, concerts... you name it. Some evenings are a mad dash biking home from the office and heading straight to my Dutchman's boat or to the park to soak up warm summer nights.

It feels good to look back and see that we've spent most of the last two months doing as much as possible outside. We're finally having a real summer! Now, enough about the weather, let's get to the food part since that's probably what caught your eye in the first place, am I right?

The recent heat wave (yes, heat wave!) has naturally increased my cravings for cold, fruity smoothies in the morning and hearty, homemade salads for dinner. Okay, and plenty of store bought salads, pizzas and beers along the way because we've luckily been out on the boat a lot lately. Which means sometimes dinner turns out to be whatever random hummus and carrot sticks are left over from 8+ hours floating along the canals.

Summertime is seriously hard work but hey, no complaints here!


 For those who might be curious, I've been experimenting with adding some fish into my diet now and then. Surprisingly, it wasn't too odd of a transition, I had a craving and went for it. It's nice to be feel in tune with my body and try a few different things. Vegetarian, and at times vegan, food still makes up the majority of my diet but having a few other options has been a tasty, new experience.

But don't get any crazy ideas here. I like grilled salmon lately but am not at all, ever, interested in eating the infamous raw herring. That's a "treat" reserved solely for my Dutchman and preferably when I'm at least a few feet away to mask the scent. 

Nothing ruins warm day in Amsterdam like a big, humid whiff of herring and onions up my nose during a morning bike commute. Have you tried the herring before? Maybe you're just better at assimilating than me and I'm okay with that. 

Homemade salads have definitely topped my menu lately. Sometimes they're planned but more often than not, salads for lunch and dinner are random concoctions filled quinoa, pomegranate seeds, smoked almonds, mango bits, goat cheese and/or whatever other bits and pieces I remembered to grab at the market. I've also been making lettuce wraps with leftovers like grilled veggies and black beans or salmon and risotto.
Yum, yum and yum!


If you're new to my blog, let's be clear on one thing: I love tacos. I love tacos (and burritos and fajitas) so much that there may have been a two week streak of having taco night, every night. Until we tragically ran out of chipotle peppers and I had to make a less spicy, taco salad instead.

One day in the park, we had a craving for something delicious and happily discovered that our favorite Tex-Mexican spot, Tomatillo, would deliver burritos to us in Vondelpark via bicycle. That's just about as awesome and delicious as a lazy Sunday can get.

Oh and speaking of Tex-Mex, another Sunday we took the boat down the river to a friends' house boat and made a giant fajita feast complete with homemade margaritas. Subsequently with the same group who ate bike-delivered-burritos in the park. Yes, this has been a busy, delicious summer, for sure!



Come to think of it, anything based with coriander, lime, garlic and chili is good in my book, it doesn't even have to be in taco form, I'm flexible. But, if you haven't tried making mango salsa before, go out and buy everything in this picture, chop it up and thank me later.


I've also been experimenting with making my own chia seed pudding (thanks, pinterest!) but when that runs out, PB&J ice cream makes my American expat dreams come true. Plus, I'm pretty sure that ice cream calories don't count on hot, summer days. 


Warm weather calls for iced coffee or iced tea, or massive amounts of both. I've been making mine with delicious local honey from the Pure Market. Honey is also a nice addition to an evening cup of cleansing ginger-lemon tea which I like to imagine balances out the excessive average amount of beer in my diet lately. 


And just for fun, let's wrap things up with booze.
We had a few rounds of very fancy margaritas on the 4th of July. Because you know, life is all about balance and when you're with another Floridian expat it's completely okay to feel kinda homesick and blow money on ridiculously over priced margaritas while pretending you're actually back home, next to the pool being American. Besides, even I don't want to only eat salads and iced tea all the time!


What are your favorite summer foods? I'd love to have some recipe suggestions (especially for fish, I'm a complete novice!) feel free to share them in the comments below. Happy eating!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Weekend Wanderings: Best Kept Secret Festival

Happy Friday, my friends! Summer crashed it's way into Amsterdam and brought on a whirlwind busy schedule that involves as much outdoors time as possible a thus, a little neglect (with the best intentions!) here on this blog of mine. There are so many stories to tell, so in an effort to catch up, prepare to be inundated with this massive collection of photos from the Best Kept Secret Festival.

This time last week three weeks ago, I piled into the car with my backpack and camping essentials heading "down south" for three days of music and camping at the first ever Best Kept Secret Festival near Tilburg. Can you believe this was my first full out camping in the rain and listening to music all day long trip?? The opportunity finally presented itself and I'm so glad not to have missed out on this wild adventure! It was exciting, exhausting, hilarious and nothing short of amazing!

Sigur Ros, live. Finally!
Sigur Ros rounded out three days of live music with a sparkling finishing touch. I've wanted to see them live for a decade and it was well worth the wait!

I'm not much of a music snob and love discovering new sounds but there were so many bands performing it was kind hard to keep track. Okay, it's also possible that too much beer may have aided in my lack of memory but hey, that's half the fun, isn't it?

A few of my favorite performances included...
Damien Rice, Cashmere Cat, Local Natives, Everything Everything, Potishead, Alt-J, Palma Violets, Agnes Obel, Temples, Allah-Las and so many more! But for me, Cashmere Cat and Sigur Ros topped it all!



Of course, since this is Holland, it rained throughout the entire festival. We kept our fingers crossed for nice weather but like they say, you can't win 'em all. There was no choice but to trudge through the mud in our wellies, beers in hand and made the best of it. Days began with swims in the pool, flowing into hours and hours of music and dancing and ended with rainy walks, blistered feet and long talks in the woods. Four large tents filled the space with constant music, two along the lake shore and two more hidden amongst the forest. Dreamy! Here are some more captured moments, enjoy!


If the sun had popped out a bit longer you can bet we'd definitely taken the chance to float in the lake while listening to the music play on and on. A few degrees warmer and no doubt the rain would have made a massive muddy dance party but no one seems interested (or warm enough) to peal back all their layers, myself included.


Tasty bites from the food trucks: Veggie gyros for lunch and mini donuts for a midnight snack!


Midsummer's Eve one night and the Super Moon on the next! Nature is simply magical.


It rained. A lot.  


Camping life. Nothing beats a few days in the open air, sleeping under the stars!


Morning view from our tent, waking up in nature makes me happy.

 Since the festival itself sold out I suppose it's not much of a secret anymore but I can't wait to go back. Goodbye, festival life, see you next year!

 Wishing you a happy and hopefully sunny weekend. Do you have any great festival memories? Feel free to share them! In the mean time, you can keep up with me on instagram (@lilywanderlust)